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Saturday, August 8, 2020 - 18 Av 5780
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Silence in Givon
One of the historical events that happened in the month of Tammuz was when the sun stood still at Givon. It was during the conquering of the Land, under the leadership of Joshua ben Nun. Joshua commanded the sun to be silent; i.e., to cease singing the praises of G-d. The sun remained suspended in space and, in the additional daylight hours, the Jews were able to rout their enemies. Through this, G-d revealed that He is the sole source of life in this universe.
In our time, the link between the Divine energy and all natural forces is not so clear. It is our task to instill this world with holiness, through our fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos, and transform the physical world into a home for the Divine.
Chassidic teachings explain that this, in essence, is the purpose of all of creation. G-d’s will is that we fulfill the Torah while living in the physical world, in order to refine it and transform it into a medium for expressing G-dliness. Our involvement with the physical world is not separate from our divine service, but an integral part of it. G-d created the world so that we should engage in it in a refined, G-dly way, and in this manner we draw G-dliness down into this world.
As stated in the Torah, “Six days you shall work and complete all your tasks.” This verse does not merely give us permission to engage in worldly pursuits, it demands it of us! We are obligated to work for six days, and thus join the physical and spiritual and express the divine purpose of creation. Only through our engagement with this world, in a manner that says, “I was only created to serve my Master,” can we make G-d’s original purpose a reality.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught that only when a Jew is completely aware of his spiritual mission in the world can he be successful in fusing the material and physical, without conflict between these two opposing domains. We can compare this to the process of baking a cake. There are a number of required steps: beating the eggs, adding oil, sugar, flavorings, and flour; mixing and baking. However, a person does not derive satisfaction from these acts per se. It is only the finished product that brings pleasure. Each step is only a means of achieving a goal.
The same is true of our lives. We have continuous challenges that we must contend with, both spiritual and physical. However, they all lead us to the same goal: to reveal G-d in this world, and bring the expression of the prophecy, “And all flesh will see together that the mouth of G-d has spoken.” When we know that each action brings us closer to our desired goal, our lives are filled with meaning, purpose and contentment.
On the third of Tammuz, over two thousand years ago, the world stopped for a moment and recognized its Creator. Very soon, we will once again acquire that recognition – forever, with the revelation of King Moshiach. We know the sun never set. The Rebbe, whose presence was hidden from us 19 years ago, will lead us to the Redemption.


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